Vividly embracing its late 1970s setting with unparalleled accuracy, Ben Affleck’s latest is a dramatized retelling of a CIA exfiltration specialist’s heroic efforts during the latter days of the Iran Hostage Crisis. Honing in on six would-be hostages as they’re prepped for extraction while posing as a Canadian film crew (and escaping imminent death in the process), Argo is largely cinematic in scope and strictly adherent to detail, solidifying its transformation into one of the more engrossing true story tales to have been told in quite some time.
Immersion remains at Argo‘s forefront as events unfold, the script meticulously chronicling the United States Government’s efforts in fabricating the fictional production of the sci-fi yarn at its core to serve as the hostages’ cover operation. For as dire a predicament these individuals seem to be locked into however, the film generally lacks a sense of urgency as it coasts from scene to scene, periodically and haphazardly shedding light on how quickly the clock’s winding down for them as tensions thicken throughout the Iranian Republic. This aside, Argo very obviously prides itself on its detail-heavy existence, honoring the collaborative effort between the U.S. and Canada with an increasingly tasteful finesse.
Remaining appropriately humane if a tad uneven during certain intervals, Argo is entertainment at its finest thanks how easily its strong suits outweigh its shortcomings. Affleck’s steadfastness in covering all his bases regarding the story’s recreation is admirable, but it’s easy to see how the film will or won’t appeal to the masses on account of its peculiarly tension-light if agreeably involving first two-thirds. A perfectly fine way to spend two hours at the cinema, Argo may not be Affleck’s strongest film to date, but it’s ultimately his most fully realized and skillfully crafted, aided greatly by stellar performances and a wildly interesting, albeit overbearingly pro-American central focus.